Time to submit pea, lentil and chickpea seed for testing for seedborne diseases

Sharla Sackman

Remember to submit your pea, lentil and chickpea seed for seedborne disease testing soon. Fungal disease testing can take several weeks after receiving the sample, so leave plenty of time. This is an important way of ensuring you plant high quality seed and prevent the introduction of pathogens into a field.

In the Ascochyta Plus scan, chickpea, field pea and lentil seeds are tested for Ascochyta/Mycospharella pathogens and eight other fungal pathogens of economic importance.

The fungal scan test costs $200 per sample. Another test, known as the smart package, costs $400 per sample and includes the Ascochyta Plus scan and two virus tests: pea seedborne mosaic virus and pea enation mosaic virus.

The laboratory collaborates with the Montana State University Seed Laboratory to provide the diagnostic tests. Testing can take three to four weeks to perform as results are not instantaneous and large sample volumes in the spring create delays.

Seed samples sent for pathogen testing must be representative of the seed lot. Samples of bulk seed, as in a bin, should be collected in equal portions from evenly distributed areas. Bins need to be probed from the entire depth with several probes being taken in different parts of the bin. It is generally more convenient to sample the seed as it goes into or out of a bin or during conditioning.

If samples are taken from bags, follow different paths for each probe or take handfuls from well-separated points. In lots of six bags or less, sample all bags. In lots of more than six bags, sample a minimum of five bags plus 10 percent of the number of bags in the lot. Do not sample more than 30 bags.

The most common mistake in sampling is to take a sample as it is entering the bin and place the sample in a convenient place to request a test at a later date. Factors such as heating or insects in a bin could reflect changes that are not representative of the sample that is submitted

For sample submission instructions and forms, visit http://plantsciences.montana.edu/pulsecropdiagnosticlab/ or call 406-994-5162.

( Sharla Sackman is an MSU Extension agent in Prairie County.)